Asa receives a prophecy from the Lord saying that “The Lord is with you while you are with Him” (verse 2b). So Asa sets out to ensure that ALL Judah is with Him.
The kingdom of Judah has just experienced a MIGHTY move of the Lord. He defeated the Ethiopians before them and gave them a great victory, including MUCH spoils. On the way home Asa is met with a message from the Lord. “If you seek Me with your whole heart I promise I will be found by you.” Can you imagine any better message from the Lord? I can’t. Even if He were to promise me the all the riches of the world, NOTHING would be better that KNOWING He would be with me.
Asa felt the same way. He went to work right away making SURE that there was nothing in the way between Judah and God. He tore down ALL the idols in the land of Judah and Benjamin that had been set up from Solomon on down. He cleaned out all the towns that he had taken when he battled Ethiopia. And he swore every man, woman and child to following the Lord. NONE were exempt. He paid special attention to his own house and removed the “queen mother” (his grandmother) from her place of honor because she made a carving of an idol for herself. Her ways were NOT going to stand in the kingdom devoted to the Lord, no matter who she was. Asa not only removed her from her seat but utterly destroyed the image she made.
In his quest to remove ALL other gods and consecrate the people to the Lord Asa made an edict that “whoever would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, should be put to death, whether young or old, man or woman” (verse 13). I’m wondering if the “queen mother” changed her allegiance upon hearing this or if she was a casualty of it. I wonder how many people were impacted by this. ALL were but how many had to do a change and how many refused to change is my question.
One amazing thing I like in this story is how many from Israel came to Judah just so they could serve the Lord. Jeroboam had set up false gods as part of his first works. He knew that without something in the place of the Lord the people would begin to seek to fill the hole in their spirits. He gave all who would accept it a counterfeit, claiming it was the real thing. ANYONE who KNEW the ‘real thing’ was NOT fooled! The left and went to the place where God said He would be found. Not a few people came but MANY came. I’m guessing hundreds or even thousands left Israel because Israel had left the Lord. They came to Judah to be with the Lord!
Asa and Judah had already experienced a period of God’s rest because of turning to him in the beginning. There were ten years of rest. Now God was promising even more rest for them if they would be faithful to Him with their whole hearts. And He gave it to them. For about 20 years after their commitment to Him they had rest. I have a feeling that their hearts began to wander about that time and God sent them another ‘wake-up call’ to see if they would stay the course. We will see tomorrow how that turned out.
Father God, THANK YOU that You still promise that “when we seek You with all our heart, You WILL be found.” That ‘finding’ though isn’t tied any longer to rituals and regulations but to relationship. You provided the path for a personal relationship with You; Abba Father. A PERSONAL relationship that goes beyond name only. A promise to ALWAYS be with me, even when I start to wander. My Father NEVER abandons me because I am HIS child. My Father who also disciplines me when I am in rebellion. But who LOVES me COMPLETELY! THIS is the relationship YOU have given to me; my Exalted Daddy.
Thank You for the relationship You gave me with my earthly father too. He is the one who introduced me to You. He showed me the love of a father. I know he has his flaws but he is EXACTLY the Daddy YOU created for me! And I LOVE HIM WITH ALL MY HEART! Thank You Father for making him my Daddy.